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Dr. K
Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 7451
Experience:  11 years experience as Veterinarian
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I have a 3 year old grey Maine Coon named Alcatraz (neutered

Resolved Question:

I have a 3 year old grey Maine Coon named Alcatraz (neutered male) who is extremely possessive of me, aggressive towards other cats in the household, and nervous. I had him since he was a 5 month old kitten. Things I've tried: water bottle to snap him out of his nervousness/agression, same scent behind all cat's necks in household, making the "chhh" sound, playing with him, letting him outside, separation from other cats, and giving him lots of attention. The other day I ordered online an herbal liquid supplement to try with him (chamomille, lavendar, etc.). We have 5 cats total in our household (my husband & I, no kids living with us anymore). One of our cats is a black stray named Folsom (no gender) who showed up on our porch one day and never left. Alcatraz HATES Folsom, and repeatedly attacks him, actually trying to kill him. All our cats are up to date on vaccinations. We love all our cats, and refuse to get rid of any of them. We have a 5 acre ranch in Arizona, a small cat house with door outside, and an enclosed porch where the cats can safely go outside. Alcatraz is huge (about 13 pounds, very furry long hair), and is actually more like a watch dog outside defending us and our property. He fronts off coyotes, and we've actually seen them run away in fear from them. Any suggestions? We are desparate in the desert.......
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. K replied 2 years ago.

Dr. K :

Hello, Welcome to Just Answer! I would be happy to help you with your pet today.

Dr. K :

How many different areas in your home are there, for your cats to eat and drink? Is all of the food in one location?

Dr. K :

Do you have any "cat trees" in your home for your cats to climb? If so, how many?

Dr. K :

I do not see any response from you.

Dr. K :

Are you still there?

Customer:

Hi. We have 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, ranch style no stairs, and cat scratchers in every room. Also tons of toys, including dog toys for Alcatraz who likes to chew things up, including shoes which we keep locked in a closet now.

Customer:

there are 3 separate water dishes and 2 separate food dishes in the kitchen. Plus many of our cats drink from a dripping faucet while being supervised by me.

Dr. K :

But is all of the food in the kitchen?

Customer:

Sorry, I've had Alcatraz since he was a 5 week old kitten; he used to suck on my chin like he was nursing when he was a kitten.

Customer:

All the cat food is in the kitchen, but I'd be willing to put some in our bedroom.

Dr. K :

How many litter boxes do you have? Where are they located?

Customer:

We also have 2 litter boxes in a kitchen storage room with a door and attached cat door which they all use. We used to have litter boxes in two other bedrooms, but it is too messy and stinky with carpeting.

Dr. K :

So, there are only 2 boxes in one area for all 5 cats? Is that correct?

Customer:

Alcatraz likes to spend nights outside where he hunts mice. When he is outside, all the other cats remain calm and happy. Yes, only 2 litter boxes in 1 area for all 5 cats, but 3 cats go outside at different times (2 during the day and Alcatraz at night). It's the only way we can sleep in peace.

Dr. K :

Ok

Dr. K :

There is much information for me to give you here...so bear with me....

Dr. K :

Although cats are solitary hunters, they often will develop relationships with other cats. As with other social species, relative hierarchical ranks are established between group members to try to achieve some balance and harmony within the group. The most common time for a cat to start this type of behavior, is as there social maturity is reached at around 2 to 4 years of age.

Dr. K :

Alcatraz's behavior is NORMAL. That is very important to understand. Most of the problem that is occurring in your home, is because there are too many cats for the amount of resources available.

Dr. K :

There are some changes that are going to need to be made to your home, if you want to keep all 5 cats living there in some relative harmony.

Dr. K :

The first, is that there need to be multiple areas in the home that the cats can get water and food.

Dr. K :

The second, is that there absolutely must be an increase in the number of litter boxes. There simply aren't enough. Because you have 2 litter boxes in the same place...this is essentially only one box. The number of locations is what is key.

Dr. K :

Technically speaking, veterinary behaviorists will tell you that you need one more box than you have cats. So, if you have 5 cats, you need 6 boxes.

Dr. K :

I am going to give you a more detailed handout that I use in my practice that discusses litter boxes. Hold on one moment so I can attach it here.

Dr. K :

Click Here

Dr. K :

I am also going to give you another handout that has tips for creating harmony in a home with multiple cats.

Dr. K :

Click Here 2

Dr. K :

It is very important to also be sure that there are vertical areas for your cats to access. This means cat trees for them to climb, and areas that they are able to climb up to and perch near windows. Some people will use perches specifically designed to be fitted to a window sill.

Dr. K :

I would also make sure that Alactraz is wearing a collar with a little bell on it. If he is the cat that is attacking others, then he should not be able to sneak up on them. The tinkling of his bell will be an alert to them to get out of the way, and hopefully avoid any confrontations.

Dr. K :

There is much more information on the handouts that I gave you.

Dr. K :

If you have further questions regarding this matter, please just let me know as I would be happy to address them for you.

Customer:

Thank you. My husband and I scoop about 6 times a day, and the litter boxes are cleaned about once every 2 weeks. We replace the plastic litter boxes about every 6 months with new ones. I will put one more litter box on the enclosed porch again, since that helped before. Also may put one in a middle bathroom shower which we do not use. Thanks for your advice and handout. Greatly appreciated.

Dr. K :

You are very welcome.

Dr. K :

I hope that these behavior modifications will help with this problem.

Dr. K :

If you have no further questions at this time, please click on the "accept" to show that you were happy with your service.

Dr. K :

:-)

Dr. K, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 7451
Experience: 11 years experience as Veterinarian
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